>Selling is truly all about the soft skills – the ability to connect with people, listen, communicate, understand, convey trust and develop confidence. We call this “building the relationship.” Why invest the time and energy in the relationship? Think about this – what are the chances that you will connect with someone at the exact time they are ready to buy your particular product or service? Pretty slim aren’t they? So, by building the relationship you are working to ensure that prospects automatically think of you when they are ready to buy.

Those that are masters at this know you have to start this process well before you need the sale. Make no mistake, the sales cycle is long and the consumer is in control. Our prospects now have the opportunity to buy anything they want where ever, when ever and from whomever they want. Our competition has grown and with growth our products and services have truly become commodities. The differentiator now is trust and value and that puts us right back at investing the time and energy in building the relationship.

So where do you start? Well let’s start with the definition of relationship. What do we mean by relationship? According to Websters Dictionary it is an emotional connection between two people. For me, I take that one step further, and add an emotional connection between two people where each derives value and feels trust.

To build a relationship like that, you have to get to know people. And I would argue get to know them outside of your business environment. Give them a chance to connect with you and you with them on a more personnel level.

This leads us right back to networking. In the last blog entry we talked about identifying our perfect client – in detail! Assuming you have done this, your next step is to identify where those clients might be. Where do they spend their time? What organizations do they belong to; what events do they attend? and where do they go for leisure and pleasure? When you can answer these questions then you know where to meet your best prospects and more importantly where and how to begin to build relationships.

I have a friend who specializes in selling high end real estate. She also loves golf, horses and travel. Her passions both professional and personal fit together perfectly. She is a member of several country clubs, is quite active in the horse community both riding and showing, and through both of these activities she has met several individuals who share her passion for travel. The shared interests and time spent together make building relationships an easy and enjoyable process. Naturally, when those individuals want to buy, sell or have friends who want to buy or sell real estate to whom do you think they turn? That is right – their friend who is easy to find at the golf course, the riding stables, or at the local horse show.

If you want to turn your prospects into clients, you have to start early. Build those relationships, invest the time to allow people to get to know you and for you to know them.